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Tag Archives: Robert Parker

Robert Parker finally elected to Vintners Hall

Which is as welcome as it was overdue. Parker redefined wine writing not only in the United States but in the world, and his 100-point scoring system made him the most powerful person in the wine business well into the 21st century.

Somehow, though, the wine writers and and Hall members who vote didn't elect Parker to the Vintners Hall the first two times he was on the ballot. That changed this year, when the 81 people who voted (out of some 220 who were eligible) put him in. As I wrote in July, when I sent in my ballot — with Parker's name on it:

There is no reason why Parker shouldn’t be in. We’re told we should vote
for someone who made "the greatest contributions to the California wine
industry in any area of achievement." I’ve got news for them. That’s
Parker, no matter how jealous they are of his success or how envious
they are of his prestige and popularity. If I’m writing this, and I
think the 100-point system is dumb, then the rest of the other 216
writers (and current hall members) who have a ballot have no reason not
to vote for Parker.

Also elected were winemaker Merry Edwards, wine writer Frank Schoonmaker, and labor leader Cesar Chavez, all of whom I voted for. The late Chavez, who has been on the ballot at least three times, was a surprising — but well-deserved — selection.

Parker's election does raise a couple of questions. First, what will happen when he and hall member Randall Grahm — no fan of Parker, the 100-point scoring system or the Winestream Media that Parker epitomizes — see each other at the induction ceremonty? Second, what will I have to complain about when I vote next year?

Let Robert Parker into the Vintners Hall of Fame

Enough is enough. Stop being petty. It’s time, after two previous failures, to do the right thing and elect Robert Parker to the Vintners Hall of Fame.

My colleagues in the wine writing business have decided that Parker, the critic who popularized the 100-point scoring system and has been the most important person in the wine world for the past two decades, isn’t worthy. The voters snubbed Parker in 2009 and 2010, and he wasn’t even on the ballot last year to give the controversy a chance to cool off.

There is no reason why Parker shouldn’t be in. We’re told we should vote for someone who made "the greatest contributions to the California wine industry in any area of achievement." I’ve got news for them. That’s Parker, no matter how jealous they are of his success or how envious they are of his prestige and popularity. If I’m writing this, and I think the 100-point system is dumb, then the rest of the other 216 writers (and current hall members) who have a ballot have no reason not to vote for Parker. More, after the jump:

Winebits 222: Robert Parker, direct shipping, regional wine

The maestro speaks: The Winestream Media has been abuzz with Robert Parker stories, as he makes the rounds of the various big-time wine events this spring. The most important person in the wine business has hinted at retirement, has pronounced the 2009 Bordeaux vintage the greatest ever (the third or fourth time he has singled out a vintage this century), and discussed the various scandals and upsets that have recently plagued his empire. There are an almost infinite number of links and stories, and someone could probably do quite well publishing a blog devoted to nothing other than Parker news, in the same way tech blogs focus on Apple and Microsoft). The best summaries I've found are at Wine Industry Insight (scroll down to the Parker section) and at The Blend Blog.

Burying the direct shipping bill: HR 1161, the successor to HR 5034, is officially dead. How do we know this? The distributors who were paying to push the bill through Congress have said so. Reports Shanken News Daily: " '[It] is officially off the table,' says Republic National Distributing Co. president Tom Cole, who attended the joint meeting and adds that suppliers and distributors are now working together more closely than any time in the past few decades to resolve their differences.' " Background is here; the bill, in its various incarnations, was an attempt by distributors to keep Congress from interfering in their constituionally-protected monopoly to sell wine through the three-tier system. Some in Congress wanted to give retailers the ability to buy direct from producers, or to allow consumers to buy direct from out-of-state retailers. Both are mostly prohibited by three-tier. I have no idea what the rapprochement between the producers and distributors means or what brought it about. Though that statement does sound ominous, doesn't it?

Berger on local wine: None other than Dan Berger, one of the top wine writers in the world, has lent his imprimatur to regional wine. "Fifty years ago, if you tasted a wine from Missouri, Michigan, Minnesota, or New York, chances are you'd be lucky if it was even drinkable. … A lot has changed since then." Among Berger's top states: Texas, Virginia, Missouri and Colorado, where we have held one of our annual DrinkLocalWine conferences or will hold one — Colorado, April 28.

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